The Future of the Book

If your book is 600 pages long, you are demand­ing more of my time than I feel free to give. And if I could accom­plish the same change in my view of the world by read­ing a 60-page ver­sion of your argu­ment, why didn’t you just pub­lish a book this length instead?

The hon­est answer to this last ques­tion should dis­ap­point every­one: Pub­lish­ers can’t charge enough money for 60-page books to sur­vive; thus, writ­ers can’t make a liv­ing by writ­ing them. But read­ers are begin­ning to feel that this shouldn’t be their prob­lem. Worse, many read­ers believe that they can just jump on YouTube and watch the author speak at a con­fer­ence, or skim his blog, and they will have absorbed most of what he has to say on a given sub­ject. In some cases this is true and sug­gests an endur­ing prob­lem for the busi­ness of pub­lish­ing. In other cases it clearly isn’t true and sug­gests an endur­ing prob­lem for our intel­lec­tual life.

Sam Har­ris — The Future of the Book.